Church of St Margaret, Gostyń
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Church of St Margaret

Gostyń

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The Church of St Margaret in Gostyń is one of the few medieval buildings in Poland which have survived to this day without major modifications. The parish church in Gostyń has survived almost untouched despite all the dramatic historic events that it witnessed; along with its priceless interior fittings and painted decorations, it bears a powerful testimony to the former glory of the town.

History

Gostyń is a town located about 60 kilometres south of Poznań, by a road leading from Jarocin to Leszno. The Parish of St Margaret was mentioned in written records for the first time in 1310. The parish church was erected in years 1418-1486; in the 2nd half of the 15th century, it was extended with a chancel and aisles. In the 1st half of the 16th century, the tower was extended upwards. A porch and a chapel dedicated to St Anne were constructed at the same time. Partially destroyed by a fire that broke out in 1682, the church was rebuilt in 1689. In the years 1901-1902, it underwent full-scale restoration according to a design by the architect Zygmunt Hendel. The tower was renovated in 1906, according to a design by the architect Lucjan Michałowski. In the years 1952-1954, the nave ceilings were covered with paintings designed by Wacław Taranczewski.

Description

The Church of St Margaret in Gostyń has a main nave and two slightly lower aisles. Its walls are made of brick and feature Gothic (Polish) bond with sections of monk bond in the north aisle wall. The four-bay main body of the church, comprising a nave and two aisles, passes into a two-bay chancel terminating in a polygon. On the west side of the church, there is a quadrangular tower with a porch on the ground floor level. On the south side, there is another porch, adjoining the main body of the church (built in 1523, as indicated by an inscription above the window); right beside, there is a small treasury, added in 1645 (the date is inscribed on the wall). The Chapel of St Anne is located on the south side of the chancel. Inside the chancel, in the aisles, and in the tower porch, there are stellar vaults with roll-moulded brick ribs from the late 15th century. The nave features a cross-barrel vault constructed after 1689; the porch is covered with a cross-rib vault from 1523. The Baroque music gallery, built in the mid-18th century, rests on three arches supported by piers; its balustrade features reliefs depicting the Apostles, the Three Holy Maidens, and the Eye of Providence. The exterior aisle walls and the chancel are reinforced with two-stepped and four-stepped buttresses, respectively. The gables of the aisles feature a stepped design and are adorned by blind windows. The overhanging, stepped gable of the south porch rests on a bracketed cornice and is divided into three distinct levels; it is adorned with pinnacles and partitioned by ogee-arched blind windows. The upper sections of the eight-storeyed tower were added at the end of the 1st quarter of the 16th century. At the corners of the tower, there are six-stepped buttresses. The tower is crowned with a crenellated parapet accentuated by a plastered, bracketed frieze. The corners are embellished with polygonal turrets, which were reconstructed in 1906. The main body of the church is covered with a gable roof with a single ridge, covered with roof tiles. The original Baroque roof truss, constructed after 1682, has been preserved. The church features original, Late Gothic brick portals: the ones in the north and south walls of the tower and in the north wall of the nave and the ones leading from the porch into the nave, from the sacristy to the chancel, and from the sacristy to the treasury.

The valuable interior fittings deserve particular attention. The Baroque main altar, dating back to c. 1640, features a Flemish-style painting of Mary with the Child from 1683. The chancel is flanked by Late Gothic choir stalls from 1514 (on the right) and Late Renaissance choir stalls from the 2nd quarter of the 17th century (on the left). The church also has two side altars. The one on the right side, designed in the Renaissance style, comes from the mid-17th century, and the one on the left — made in the Baroque style — dates back to the 1st quarter of the 18th century. There is also a Baroque pulpit from the first half of the 18th century and Rococo pews, confessionals, and a baptismal font. The chapel contains an Early Baroque altar from 1648, adorned with sculptures of saints; the central section incorporates a Late Gothic sculpture of Madonna and Child with Saint Anne from c. 1510. A particularly interesting feature is the vault painting in the Chapel of St Anne, designed in 1905 by an eminent architect from Poznań, Roger Sławski. What is particularly notable is that the painting incorporates the lyrics of the oldest Polish religious hymn — Bogurodzica (an archaic word meaning Mother of God) — and a prayer to St Anne.

The church is surrounded by a graveyard containing gravestones from the 1st half of the 19th century, enclosed with a wall with an 18th-century tripartite gate topped with an openwork balustrade.

The building is open to visitors. The Holy Mass schedule is available at: www.faragostyn.archpoznan.pl.

compiled by Beata Marzęta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 31-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Województwo poznańskie, t. 5, z. 4: Powiat gostyński, Warszawa 1961.
  • Maluśkiewicz P., Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2008.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1436 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Przy Farze , Gostyń
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district gostyński, commune Gostyń - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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